Photo credit: Amy Irvin (38Photography)
Flyers beat the Rangers.
That is not a typo.
Michael Del Zotto sniped home the game winning goal shorthanded early in the 3rd period as the Flyers held on to fight another day for a postseason spot as they defeated the New York Rangers 4-2 Saturday night.
The Flyers came into tonight’s game returning home after a frustrating and horrific mini-road trip where they were unable to pick up any points against league bottom feeders Carolina and Toronto. Things were not looking any better with the Rangers coming into town, as the Blueshirts had won 16 of the previous 20 regular season contests against Philadelphia
The game nearly began catastrophically for the Flyers as it appeared the Rangers had scored just seven seconds in. Derek Stepan turned and fired a shot from beyond the blue line Steve Mason embarrassingly could not come up with. Much to the relief to the Flyers and fans alike, the Rangers were offsides on the play and the goal was waived off.
Matt Read (officially) got the scoring started midway through the first period as he was able to sneak home a rebound through the pads of Cam Talbot and gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead. However, the advantage would be short-lived as J.T. Miller answered back just 25 seconds later off a Luke Schenn turnover to tie the game back at 1-1.
The second period didn’t see much action early but Dominic Moore was able to fire a shot from the blueline that deflected off the skate of Braydon Coburn past a helpless as the Rangers took their first lead of the night.
Minutes later, Michael Raffl would equalize things at 2-2 when he made a great deflection in the slot off a Coburn slapper from the point. Later in the period, there was a scary moment when defenseman Nicklas Grossmann was down face first on the ice after being hit from what at first looked innocently off the back by a Rick Nash shot. Grossmann appeared dazed and disoriented as he took several minutes to get up and required assistance getting to the locker room. Flyers said he suffered an upper-body injury and would not return.
It appeared the Flyers had a golden chance to take the lead going into intermission but Jakub Voracek lifted a puck on a breakaway attempt in the final seconds. Making matters worse, Claude Giroux took a slashing penalty right after, giving the Rangers a power play to start the third.
It was on the penalty kill where the game finally turned in the Flyers favor. After making a strong defensive play, Sean Couturier carried the puck into the Ranger zone and hesitated as he waited for his teammates to join the rush. He found a streaking Del Zotto on the far side of the ice and the defenseman did the rest as he fired a snipe from his wheelhouse past Talbot to give the Flyers a 3-2 lead against his former team.
From there, it was the Steve Mason show. Making up for his unofficial gaffe earlier in the game, Mason made several big saves as the Rangers made a final push to tie the game. In one sequence, the Flyers’ netminder made four straight saves in succession point blank, drawing a standing ovation from the sell-out crowd.
Wayne Simmonds sealed the deal with an empty net goal in the game’s final moments to finish off the victory.
The Flyers will look to build off the win and keep their slim playoff hopes alive when they welcome the Flames and Blues into town next week.